Grizzly Bear Presence Causes Campground Near Yellowstone to Close

by Hunter Miller

Rainbow Point Campground at Yellowstone National Park closed down after a grizzly bear returned twice within days. One of those visits, the grizzly found human food causing the campground to temporarily shut down.

Jason Brey, Hebgen Lake District ranger, explains the issue with a grizzly finding human food. “When a bear receives food and becomes a food-conditioned bear it can be very dangerous,” Brey told Billings Gazette. “It is unfortunate that this bear appears to have associated people with a food reward and we are working with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks to trap the bear for public safety concerns.”

The campground is located around 11 miles north of West Yellowstone on the Grayling Arm of Hebgen Lake. Furthermore, the campground sits four miles from Yellowstone’s western border.

Following the first grizzly encounter, park officials instructed visitors and campers to evacuate the premises or to sleep in their vehicles. On Thursday night, the bear returned. The grizzly approached multiple vehicles, tried opening a dumpster, and even collapsed an unoccupied tent.

According to Brey, the bear has “been fairly bold” with incidents “escalating over the last couple of days.”

Brey explains that first and foremost “tent camper” safety was the main “priority.” After closing Rainbow Point, park rangers attempted to find other sites for campers in the Hebgen Lake Ranger District.

How to Keep Your Food Away from a Grizzly and Other Wildlife

Yellowstone Park attempts to prevent wildlife from acquiring a taste for human food by requiring visitors to store food out of animals’ reach from March 1 to December 1. According to the Food Storage Order, all unattended food and garbage should be stored in one of four ways.

Firstly, campers can keep food in hard-sided vehicles. Secondly, in bear-resistant containers. Thirdly, visitors can hang food 10 feet above the ground and 4 feet away from the tree/pole. Lastly, campers can place food in a fenced area the meets Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee regulations.

[H/T Billings Gazette]